Dr. Andrew Erickson Recognized by Naval War College for Research

Photo: Prof. Erickson receives the Naval War College’s Civilian Faculty Research Excellence Award from its President, Admiral Jeffrey Harley

Frequent China Brief contributor Dr. Andrew Erickson has received an award from the Naval War College for his outstanding research:

On August 14, at a convocation ceremony in Newport, RI, Naval War College President Admiral Jeffrey Harley presented Dr. Andrew Erickson with the Civilian Faculty Research Excellence Award. The first in an annual series, it is given to the professor who has exhibited the highest quality of achievement through research on behalf of the College. A longtime Jamestown affiliate, Erickson has published 20 articles in China Brief since 2008 and will present at the China Defense and Security Conference on October 11.

“Andrew’s work over the last decade here at the College has been the foundation on which much of the success of its China-related research has been built,” explains Prof. Peter Dutton, Director of the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI), which Erickson helped to establish at the Naval War College in 2006. “Andrew richly deserves this award,” adds Prof. Thomas Culora, Dean of the College’s Center for Naval Warfare Studies, within which CMSI is located. “One of the really important and high-impact research projects he has undertaken is on China’s Maritime Militia.”

Erickson has envisioned, developed, and led an intensive multi-year effort to illuminate a critically important but insufficiently understood subject: the organizational structure and missions of China’s People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM). Erickson’s work, in partnership with CMSI Research Associate Conor Kennedy, has contributed greatly to the U.S. Navy’s and the U.S. government’s understanding of how this shadowy force challenges the Navy’s plans and operations in the vital waterways of East Asia.

Erickson’s research on the maritime militia has literally opened a whole new area of study. While there was some small understanding that fishermen were involved in international sea incidents of significant concern to the United States and its regional allies and partners, nowhere in the U.S. government had there been done a systematic study of this third maritime force available to China’s leadership.

Erickson has presented his research by request in testimony to the U.S. Congress and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission; as well as to the Senior Director for Asia at the National Security Council and his leading China-focused staff, to the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, to Commander, Pacific Fleet, and to operational planners from Pacific Fleet and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, among others. Based on Erickson’s research, leading planners at Pacific Fleet have publicly described CMSI as “the Navy’s Center of Excellence concerning China’s Maritime Militia.”

Erickson’s research has featured prominently in Congressional Research Service reports and has resulted in, for the first time ever, a section on China’s Maritime Militia in the 2017 Annual Report to Congress on the Military and Security Developments Involving the PRC. It has informed the decisions of Congress and the White House and has been directly incorporated into the operational plans of Pacific Fleet and Pacific Fleet’s inputs to the plans of Pacific Command.

“Andrew has an extraordinary ability to envision a key research project and then work it from idea to reality,” concludes Dutton. “His energy and personal drive are the cornerstones of his consistent results. I am proud to work with him and look forward to seeing his continued productivity on behalf of our nation’s security interests.”